Can fans accept Dallas Keuchel as Astros’ #5 starter?


Dallas Keuchel is not performing like the 2015 Cy Young DK or even the 2017 DK, where he was brilliant when healthy. After a particularly bumpy three starts in a row where his ERA has ballooned from a very good 3.39 to a below average 4.45, folks are wanting something done, but are unsure what it is they want done.

If he is hurt again, then a DL stint makes sense, but there has been no indication that the problems he is having are health-related. If he has changed from a control pitcher with a 91 mph fastball, who has turned into a control pitcher with an 89 mph fastball, there’s not much that can be done. If he is just a bit unlucky as a lot of the hits against him appear to be hard to semi-hard ground balls finding the right hole in the defense, it is possible that this will improve as a statistical swing back to the mean.

A DL stint could be the answer, but there is no way they would get away with putting the outspoken Keuchel on the DL, if he is not hurt. He would be out there pointing out the truth in a hurry and that could be quite embarrassing and would gain the attention of the league office. They could send him to the bullpen and bring one of his buddies, Collin McHugh or Brad Peacock into the rotation. But that could adversely affect the bullpen, which has been a bit iffy and overworked lately. And it would be putting someone in the pen who would not likely be as gracious as McHugh about the assignment. They could put together a trade for Keuchel, but they would be trading him at the lower end of his worth and they would be assuming that they would not need his arm to get through the rest of the season, which would be a stretch based on seeing Charlie Morton, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers on the injury list last season.

So, let’s say for argument’s sake that the 4.45 ERA/1.318 WHIP is the new norm for DK. Can the fans accept that as what they would get out of the last slot in the rotation?

Let’s look at what the bottom end of the rotation of the Astros’ main AL competitors looks like.

  • Seattle. The M’s #4 and #5 starters are Mike Leake (4.46 ERA) and Felix Hernandez (5.70 ERA). So, the M’s would love to have DK as their 5th starter and he has been as good as their #4 starter.
  • Yanks. With Jordan Montgomery out for the season, the #3, 4 and 5 starters are Masahiro Tanaka (4.58 ERA and on the DL), Sonny Gray (4.81 ERA and thankfully not an Astro) and Domingo German (5.32 ERA). So DK would get snapped up by the Yanks in a quick minute.
  • Angels. The Halos #5 starter has been former Astro Nick Tropeano (4.83 ERA). Again, Keuchel would be an improvement.
  • Red Sox. The Sox #5 starter has been Drew Pomeranz (6.81 ERA and on the DL)
  • Indians. The Tribes #5 starter who has lost his spot was Josh Tomlin (7.23 ERA).

What the numbers show us is that Keuchel would be an acceptable #5 for all of the top teams in the AL and even higher on the Yanks. He has put up solid numbers – numbers that could have easily resulted in a win in 8 of his 14 starts and numbers that kept the team in the game in 3 of the other 6.

Now, if he spirals out of control towards a 5.00 ERA then it will be time for action. But for the time being, unless there is a hidden injury occurring, the Astros will continue to roll DK out in that spot in the rotation and hope that he finds a little of his magic from just last season.

Advertisements

85 comments on “Can fans accept Dallas Keuchel as Astros’ #5 starter?

  1. Totally agree, Dan. DK 2018 is not going to win any Cy Youngs, and probably isn’t even going to win 10 games for us, but [a] he’s our mule, and nobody else will have him, [b] he would probably be far worse as a reliever [remember the 2015 ALCS], and [c] quite frankly we have no real choice or option but to climb on his back every fifth day and hope for the best.

    Like

    • I will also add that while DK is a shadow of his former Cy Young self as a pitcher, as a man he is tough as nails, competitive as JV, and stubborn as that mule I mentioned above – so while he may not be a superstar, he ain’t going to cash it in or go through the motions. He ain’t got much in his tank, quite frankly, but he’ll give whoever he pitches for every bit of what he’s got. They just have to hope that either their offense goes crazy to pick up the slack – or their opponents make stupid mistakes like yesterday and get called for balks.

      Like

  2. Driving to work this morning on AM 790 they were having a fun game among the talk show guys – the challenge was to name the top 10 Astros by WAR from the 2013 team. This was truly an interesting quiz as only one of the players is still on the team (Altuve of course) but a number of these guys have been blotted out from my memory as contributing positively for the team. For fun – I will list out the top 12 – because it is just an amazing tribute to how bad and forgotten this team was.
    – Jason Castro – 4.1 WAR
    – Jared Cosart – 2.5
    – Matt Dominguez – 2.2
    – Brett Oberholtzer – 2.1
    – Bud Norris – 1.8
    – Brandon Barnes – 1.4
    – Jose Veras – 1.1
    – Jose Altuve – 1.0
    – Erik Bedard – 0.9
    – Kevin Chapman – 0.8
    – Carlos Corporan – 0.6
    – Wesley Wright – 0.5

    Can’t believe Altuve was 8th.
    Norris and Veras would have had bigger numbers, but they were both traded during the season.
    Can’t believe that Chris Carter with 29 HRs and 82 RBIs did not make the list….wait a minute after watching him play I can believe it.
    Man, this team was like a bad accident that you do your best to wipe out of your head.

    Like

    • It is an interesting situation Billy C – there are reports that he is headed for TJ surgery and will miss the rest of 2018 and all of 2019. The Angels GM has denied he is headed for TJ surgery – that the medical staff has not recommended it.
      Reading between the lines, it looks like the Angels want to see if it will get better with rest and not have the surgery. It seems to me that when this has been tried before that all it does is delay the inevitable. I would be happy for the young man if he does not have to face this surgery, but if he does they should face up to it and get him started sooner rather than later.
      I am not a doctor and I do not stay at Holiday inn expresses – so nobody should be taking my medical advice….

      Like

  3. I think you have to keep Keuchel in the rotation if he isn’t hurt. It would behoove the team to make sure he is matched up properly, not against other team’s #1 or #2. I think he will eventually come around and pitch better.
    I still think the team is better off with Peacock and McHugh in the bullpen. They have been good this season.
    I wonder what it’s like to sit out in the bullpen for three hours in the sun in 100 degree temperatures. I wonder what it’s like to go out and pitch against major league hitters in 100 degree temperatures.
    I wonder what it’s like to go and sit in the stands for four hours in 100 degree temperatures.
    I have nothing bad to say about the Astros after sitting in my living room watching them sweep the team I hate the most in baseball. They did all the work.
    The average fan doesn’t keep up with Astros stats, so they won’t care who he’s matched up against.
    The above average fan does keep up with everything and will know why Keuchel is now the #5 and agrees with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we all want DK to perform to the highest of standards but sometimes reality sets in. Maybe being slotted back at #5 will take the pressure of him. Maybe he will see this as a challenge and set out to prove that he is still a #1 or 2. We just want all our players and team succeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes we forget just a year ago the guy was 9 and 0. Then he went on the DL after his June 2 start and really has not been the same pitcher since. And we never did get a real conclusive report on what his injury was. Could he have something wrong with him that can’t be fully fixed?

    Like

    • Well in general he was worse after his injury in 2017. But he did have a good September – a 2.87 ERA that was almost identical to his 2.88 ERA in May.
      He does not have much room for error – a little problem with mechanics or a little chronic injury might have him down 1 or 2 mph.

      Maybe he just needs to use more pine tar….

      Like

    • Anything is possible, but the problem seems to me to be that he has just lost a put-away pitch. He does not miss bats, and he throws so softly, and with so little movement now, that even if he gets up 0-2, all the opponent has to do is wait him out. Texas did that to perfection [and they took Joey Gallow out of the line-up because he has trouble waiting on anything]. Opposing hitters simply need to have no fear, anymore, of either him blowing a heater by them or fooling them with a sharp or late breaking slider. They just foul off the pitcher’s pitches, wait for the inevitable hitter’s pitch, and don’t try to do too much with it. Hence all the ‘seeing-eye’ singles. So, DK is now a late-career version of Livan Hernandez and Roberto Hernandez rolled into one. Any team with even the Texas Rangers level of patience will nickle and dime him to death.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes my memories match reality….
    https://www.mlb.com/cut4/jimmy-wynn-homers-over-scoreboard-onto-highway/c-280400516
    In my mind I remembered seeing these live on TV when they happened – the Crosley Field HR onto the freeway and the Forbes Field HR over the centerfield fence and the batting cage which was stored on the field because no one ever hit it out there.
    But I wondered if I just thought I saw them, because in those days we only saw the Astros on TV when they had a road Sunday game. Well I looked up the dates of these two HRs and sure enough – two Sunday road games back in 1967.
    Wynn was the most powerful hitter his size I’ve ever seen. Chewing on that toothpick and taking Springer-esque swings at the ball. His 37 hrs back then were an insane feat considering how hard it was to hit a dinger in the Astrodome, plus how much of an advantage the pitchers had back then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thanks for this link dan. i remember seeing the crosley field homer as you could actually see it bouncing on the road. the other i dont remember seeing but wowser what a mammoth shot.

      Like

      • He was listed as 5′-10″ 160 lbs. For some perspective – Adam Everett was 6′-0″ 180 lbs or going back further Roger Metzger was 6′-0″ 165 lbs.
        The Toy Cannon was tiny but what power he had.

        Like

  6. Zach Britton returns for the Orioles finally. I’m sure the Astros will be checking him out to see if he could be an answer to back of the bullpen / lefty problems.

    Like

  7. The one thing we haven’t touched on is……how fragile a starting pitcher’s, ego is. Keuchel was ECSTATIC when we traded for Verlander, and credited him for getting us to the World Series, and WINNING IT ALL! But…..he soon realized he wasn’t number one anymore….and now this year Keuchel has had some tough games, and he sees everyone focusing on Verlander and his un….believable start to this season. He sees Cole, and Charlie, and McCullers out pitching him and his ego has taken a nosedive. There’s a lot of truth to this. I’m hoping he will turn the corner very soon, and comes back to that very good lefty in our rotation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he does. Becky⚾

    Like

  8. What does” Looking Glass” and DK have in common, one hit wonders. I have probably shared multiple times in the last 2 years, I was never sure how DK some how, with a lot of smoke and mirrors won the Cy Young. I remember watching those games and going how are they not hitting him at 90MPH and nibbling. Kudos to him for winning a Cy Young, being a professional, also helping us win a WS. He will be lucky to ever be a .500 pitcher again, and could be a better than average #5 for us or someone

    Like

  9. I see a pitcher that needs excellent control. He needs to stay low and away or low and inside. His pitches drift to very hittable areas. For what reason, I don’t know, but he continues to bark at the umps attempting to get a strike call on pitches that are outside the zone. You can be off a little at 98, but not at 88.

    Like

  10. The Keuchel issue will return in 4 days – but tonight we have our other potential problem area: Lance McCullers, Jr. He is the exact opposite of DK – talent oozes from him, and he had multiple put-away pitches. But his head . . . . Hopefully the challenges he has faced this year – especially the well-earned dressing-down he got from Altuve’ after dissing Yuli Gurriel over an error, then getting totally humiliated by the Indians batting order – will mature him.

    Peace, be still, Grasshopper!

    Like

  11. Let’s look at Dallas Keuchel since he figured out how to pitch in 2014.

    2014 – 12-9 / 200 IP / 2.93 ERA / 1.175 WHIP
    2015 – 20-8 / 232 IP / 2.48 ERA / 1.017 WHIP
    2016 – 9-12 / 168 IP / 4.55 ERA / 1.286 WHIP
    2017 – 14-5 / 145.2 IP / 2.90 ERA / 1.119 WHIP
    2018 – 3-8 / 85 IP / 4.45 ERA / 1.318 WHIP

    You have 3 seasons where he had one of the best ERAs in the league, and a high quality WHIP to go with it. You have 2 seasons where his ERA and WHIP are below average. We know he was hiding an injury in 2016. Is he hiding one now?
    His location is super important and so is his ball movement. We can say he was hurt by the change in the strike zone taking away some of the lower pitches, but it did not really hurt him in 2017. I am more worried about his velocity drop. Pitchers can get around velocity drops by the way they control their pitches and in changing speeds, but their margin for error is less. The hitters wait him out, spoil some decent pitches and then take what he gives them when he has to put it in the zone. His hits per 9 innings was 7.2 in his two best seasons. It is 9.5 this season and is the main reason he is struggling. He is walking less hitters but getting hit a lot more.
    I am hoping it is just something mechanical. He is still one of the better #5s you will find and if he can take a time machine back even one season, he has a history of some excellent pitching not that far back.

    Like

  12. The Mariners are in a very weird position relative to Robinson Cano’s suspension.
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23763495/robinson-cano-seattle-mariners-not-full-second-baseman-return

    I’m trying to remember a parallel situation. Cano is a top notch player, who will return from his PED masking suspension in mid-August. He could give the M’s a big offensive boost, but…. they have to figure out the best way to work him in and then configure themselves to live without him in the playoffs. They have to see how much of him they need to get them a spot in the playoffs (potentially) without screwing up the people they will depend on in the playoffs.

    Like

      • Mr. Bill! If you don’t behave yourself and stop causing trouble there will be no Nolan Ryan hot dogs for you on Tuesday night!

        Like

      • Wild Mr. Bill, our bearded wonder is erratic, no doubt. He’s come back down to Earth a bit in June, but with a BABIP of .179 through the first 11 days, I think he’s due. Either way, our DH has 10 honers and 32 RBI’s after a miserable start. I think he’s starting to figure out how to sit around all night doing nothing in between at bats. Can’t you focus on finding some help (a replacement) for Jake?

        Like

      • And maybe, just maybe, former triple machine E Gat! can regain his 2015 around-the-bases velocity and become useful to us as a late inning speedster pinch-runner!

        Like

      • A $130MM left is a pretty big chunk of change to unload but if I were in their shoes I’d look seriously at making the attempt.

        Like

      • Heck, at this point, they mght have to pay more than half of it. Bill, he’s played one game at short in his MLB life. Never has even played first. I think he might be allergic to grass.

        Like

      • Yes, OP, you have to wonder how long he got away with it. His performance going forward will be telling. One reason why Seattle is probably stuck with him even if they want to move him.

        Like

  13. We get to face Daniel Mengden and his AWESOME mustache tonight. He’s channeling his inner Rollie Fingers! Gotta admit, that mustache is pretty cool!!
    Why does McCullers make me sooo dang nervous when he pitches? That kid losses focus faster than anyone I know. Crossing my fingers that he can last more than 4 innings, throwing 99 pitches! UGH.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Talk about bad luck and worse luck. Luke Gregerson is on the DL for shoulder issues and needed knee surgery. He has pitched 8 1/3 innings this year, with 8 hits and 8 runs.

    Like

  15. Since I was bored I thought I’d look at the player by position, by AB’s, and K’s. I used 200 plate appearances for all except catcher where I used 100. Also I used both AL and NL. Some of these may be DH’s but I tried not to get too fine. I only listed the top 2 for each position. Just thought is was interesting. It’s a little messy but you get the basic info.
    Player Team Pos AB SO %
     Davis, C BAL 1B 207 86 41.5%
     Gallo, J TEX 1B 233 94 40.3%
     Moncada, Y CWS 2B 224 88 39.3%
     Hernandez, C PH I 2B 238 64 26.9%
     Carpenter, M STL 3B 216 63 29.2%
     Devers, R BOS 3B 242 70 28.9%
     Story, T COL SS 243 75 30.9%
     Correa, C HOU SS 220 65 29.5%
     Chirinos, R TEX C 165 79 47.9%
     Zunino, M SEA C 150 65 43.3%
     Stanton, G NYY LF 238 84 35.3%
     Upton, J LAA LF 245 80 32.7%
     Brinson, L MIA CF 219 74 33.8%
     Taylor, M WSH CF 215 68 31.6%
     Judge, A NYY RF 226 85 37.6%
     Soler, J KC RF 213 66 31.0%

    Like

  16. Some thoughts:
    *The Astros, with a team batting average of .261, are within one point of the two leaders in MLB in BA. That .261 average is 21 points below their league leading BA of .282 in 2017. League-wide, almost all offensive stats are down for 2018.
    *The Astros still have the fewest errors and highest fielding % in the major leagues. Fangraphs still rates them negatively in their advanced fielding stats.
    * A source to be unnamed has the Astros having played the 7th hardest schedule so far and the Mariners having the 24th hardest.
    That same source has the Astros with the 27th hardest remaining schedule and the Mariners with the third hardest.

    Like

    • Those last couple of points… if we are already on a pace to win 102 games at the toughest part of the schedule…what does that say about us when are about to hit the easiest part of our schedule?

      Like

    • All that will feel a whole lot more ‘real’ and meaningful once the M’s actually start losing to those good teams they are scheduled to play, and we finish the month of June 3 games or better up on them, with a new expensive, hot-shot flamethrower or two in our bullpen.

      Like

    • OP, Good post. Wonder why the source wants to be secret though? Billy, what does that say about us? Some of us are whiners. If you are speaking of us meaning the Astros, we’re going to win quite a few games.

      Like

  17. Billy, this little group of ours has very high, sometimes unrealistic expectations of our club. What’s interesting to me is how Hinch has reacted to most of the issues we’ve been complaining about. In most cases, he’s done little or nothing. He knows what he’s got. That said, I still have little hope for Jake.

    Like

    • thats absolutely right on dave.
      i still have a very slight glimmer of hope for jake as he still has value as a late inning defensive sub that probably doesnt get to the plate. you put him in the top of the 8th, you get 2 innings of defense with probably no at bat. he still runs very well giving him value as a pinch runner. and maybe just maybe they find what the heck is going on with him. looks to me like maybe he needs vision correction or some such.

      Like

  18. MLBTR has us linked to Brad Hand today through other sources.
    I think rumors of us getting relievers outside the organization are justified because of the club’s burning desire to repeat, but I think there is also a chance that young pitchers from our minors could be added to this club late in the year.
    It will be hard to ignore a guy like Josh James who has solved his sleep apnia problem and is suddenly striking out 40% of the batters he is facing as a starter and his K/9 rate is 13.89 in a hitter friendly league. What does his fastball do if he is brought up to pitch in a relief role? Does it jump from 96mph to 98-99?
    Riley Ferrell has suddenly gotten better and is not walking as many guys. Has he gotten it together to become the reliever everybody hoped he could? What about Whitley or Martin or Cionel Perez, who are pitching very well in Corpus Christi? It was Luhnow who said last week that Whitley could possibly be able to help the organization this season.
    There are possibilities out there, without having to give up future stars for an expensive reliever.

    Like

  19. When we picked up Verlander at the wire last year, it had to take some wind out of the Yankee sails. Cole did it to them this year. Hand could be the third guy to pain them. But that in itself would really drive the price up further for Hand.

    Like

    • Sipp has a 0.3 WAR
      2.42 FIP
      152 ERA +
      1.0 WHIP

      Most haven’t had the patience for Tony to reinvent himself, but Lo and behold, he’s doing just fine. I think with what we have in the stable, we don’t need to be looking at Brad Hand. Again.

      What drives these rumors is probably the notion that we’ll have to keep pace once the Yankees surely deal to bolster their pitching. But what we have in-house could already be really special. Josh James deserves a callup.

      Like

  20. Check out the video of Chad Pinder’s almost home run the Astros somehow turned into a double play. Up 11-5 in the 8th, late at night, look at the intensity and precision shown by Jake Marisnick, Tony Kemp, and Yuli Gurriel!

    Oh, and Evan Gattis had a pretty good night as well.

    Like

  21. It was an organizational sweep last night. Quad Cities beat Clinton. Buies Creek beat Carolina. Corpus Christi beat Midland [Pitch Forrest, Pitch!]. Fresno’s ‘Murderer’s Row’, a/k/a ‘These Grizzlies Ain’t Like Gentle Ben’ line-up bombed New Orleans. And the Lumberjack rocked the Coliseum.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox, and David Price, are about to invade Seattle.

    Like

  22. You guys and gals continue to brag on Luhnow as a GREAT GM. When will he finally get us a DH with some power. Gattis is not cutting it…………………(Double) Never Mind. 🙂 🙂

    Like

    • Sort of wish I had gone to Singapore with the President. Then I could have watched last night’s game and it would have been playing today. Not sure if that counts as two victories or not.

      Like

  23. So, in the whole history of the Astros with Wynn, Morgan, Cedeno, Watson, Bagwell, Berkman, Biggio, Davis, Cruz, Rader, Caminiti, Correa, Altuve, Springer and even Carlos Lee – no one ever had two 5 RBI games in a row until Evan Gattis. Pretty amazing.

    Like

  24. Watching last night was like watching the Astros at their high point last year. Let’s hope they can still climb higher. Playing great baseball. Keep it up guys. I guess this is why some of us aren’t coaches, managers, GM’s, or owners. I for one would have thought Gattis’ was on his way to the DFA list but just a tweak in his approach and he’s better than he’s ever been. Keep up the good work guys.

    Like

  25. Jake is a real pain in the ass. You want to write him off, but then he goes out and acts like a complete baseball player. He aggravates me.

    What about this Frankie Montas guy? Every now and then in the minors and now majors, he has a great stretch where he looks like an ace, but overall, he’s a mediocre performer. Which Frankie do we get this afternoon?

    Like

    • What weird numbers for Montas….
      At AAA Nashville this season he was 1-5 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.341 WHIP
      At MLB Oakland he is 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA and a .877 WHIP
      That is just weird

      Like

  26. In case nobody noticed, what with the ‘beard man of Alcatraz’ doing his thing at the Coliseum, Yuli Gurriel got 3 hits and 3 RBIs last night and his BA is now over .300. He’s hitting the ball hard as well – just staying in the park, so Gattis can have fun driving him in.

    If Correa and Springer get hot too, this team could really start lighting up some scoreboards.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s